Life is Feeding Baked Alaska to Zombies

(If you get the title reference, much kudos and cookies!)

Obscure metaphors and me:

I enjoy using metaphors and imagery in my poems that reflects my life, is somewhat a reference, and those things that I get- because they make sense in my mind, but don’t necessarily in the minds of those people who read my poetry. For example:

‘Love having turned the blood

To wine, milk-white wine,

It itself dishes up a newer act…’

This was a piece of love poetry, indeed. In a way, it’s reflecting on my mind, my love of slipping in references and using puns to bring a point to light, but only I seem to have a knowledge of the true meanings behind words. I guess this is one problem of crafting my work; I like to be inventive, but am I veering on that too much so?

Another example: In a recent poem, the lines

‘Like patchwork, did the brownish-black

Fade onto pearlescent face’,

used the moon as a metaphor to represent the bags under the persona’s eyes. Although the girl I gave the poem to read understood that it was to do with madness, she couldn’t quite pick up on the imagery.

Is this simply a part of me, or a part of my ‘youth’ in the business of writing? Or do other writers experience the same pull of wanting to include the obscure for the sake of their work? I guess it’s different between prose and poetry, the former of which, in my opinion, a writer has a lot more control over.

Think about it; although prose is lengthier, one has a whole band of characters to look after, and narration to tidy up the bits that the characters can’t point out to the world. At first, I myself used to slip references into bits of my prose, but (at least, I hope) that inclination has far died down. It’s not that I will never do it, both consciously and unconsciously, but I rarely deliberately put obscure references in nowadays. I believe many other writers also go through this phase and change.

However, I cannot say the same for my poetry, as I have just revealed. With poetry, it’s not characters that are the main focus, nor plot or plot-devices, in general; it is the ornaments that become the poem. Those literary devices, in my opinion, need to be fancy and well-thought, otherwise I feel that a poem is lacking something.

This leads to extensive thought on my part, the dwelling into the regions that should be kept off-limits to steal imagery from. For love poems, especially, I use my own life to relate to the persona, to be able to contrive a metaphor that befits what this persona, alike to me, must be feeling. (It’s music, mostly, music and organists!) And, in case you hadn’t already realised, my mind is a very varied, complex world. It’s filled with so many ideas that shouldn’t be allowed to combine in such ways.

It’s not as if I have tried to rein in such tendencies either, unlike that which I did with my prose occurrences.

On the other hand, we could say that all poets have done that. Certainly, I know that past famous poets were influenced by their own lives in what they wrote, regardless of whether the two intertwined. It is an occupation, after all.


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